News

Man asphyxiated by his own coat in bizarre Colorado ski lift accident

A New Jersey man was asphyxiated this week after he became entangled in his coat on a Colorado ski lift, according to authorities and news reports.

Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis told the Vail Daily that Jason Varnish of Short Hills, New Jersey, accidentally fell through a gap created by a chair that was in its folded position.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

“The coat ended up going around his head and neck area,” she said.

NBC News reached out to Bettis but did not receive an immediate response.

The Vail Mountain resort said in a statement that the man, 46, was killed Thursday “when the guest attempted to load the Skyline Express lift.”

Ski patrol members performed CPR before the skier was taken to Vail Health hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the resort said.

The destination’s operators are investigating, and the section where it happened, known as Blue Sky Basin, was closed for about 24 hours before reopening Friday, according to Associated Press.

“The lift has been thoroughly inspected and is operating normally,” the resort’s statement reads.

Vail Mountain’s operating chief, Beth Howard, said in a statement Wednesday skiers and snowboarders there were experiencing unusually long lines as a result of “a Top 5 snowfall event in our 58-year history.”